Identified by Time Magazine as “one of the sharpest minds in the House,” Tom Cole is currently serving in his tenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. At the outset of his service in Congress, Cole was named one of the “Five Freshmen to Watch” by Roll Call. In 2016, he was recognized by Newsmax as the “hardest working member in Congress.” He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2017.
Cole is recognized as a tireless advocate for taxpayers and small businesses, supporter of a strong national defense and leader in promoting biomedical research. He is considered the foremost expert in the House on issues related to Native Americans and tribal governments.
Since 2009, Cole has served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, where he is currently Vice Ranking Member of the full committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS). While serving as LHHS Chairman during the 115th Congress, Cole shepherded completion of the subcommittee’s annual funding bill and participated in the bicameral conference committee that negotiated the final product for fiscal year 2019. When it was signed into law in September 2018, it marked the first time in 22 years that the bill was completed in full and on time.
Cole was appointed to the House Rules Committee in 2013 and has remained on the panel since then. He currently serves as Ranking Member, the top Republican leadership position on the committee. Cole also serves as a Deputy Whip for the Republican Conference and sits on the House Republican Steering Committee.
Cole has a significant background of service to his home state of Oklahoma. He has served as the State Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, District Director to former Congressman Mickey Edwards, a member of the Oklahoma State Senate and as Oklahoma’s Secretary of State. In this capacity, he served as former Governor Frank Keating’s chief legislative strategist and liaison to the state’s federal delegation. Keating tapped Cole to lead Oklahoma’s successful effort to secure federal funds to assist in the rebuilding of Oklahoma City in the wake of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19,1995.
Cole is widely regarded as one of the GOP’s top political strategists. He served as Executive Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee in the 1992 cycle. He also served as Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee during the historic 2000 cycle in which Republicans won the presidency, the Senate and the House for the first time in 48 years. In the 2008 cycle, Cole served as Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Cole is a founding partner and past president of CHS & Associates, a nationally recognized political consulting and survey research firm based in Oklahoma City. The firm has been named one of the top 20 in its field and has dozens of past and current clients scattered across the country.
A former college instructor in history and politics, Cole holds a B.A. from Grinnell College, an M.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Cole has been a Thomas Watson Fellow and a Fulbright Fellow at the University of London. Cole has also received honorary degrees from Randall University (formerly Hillsdale Bible College) in Moore, Oklahoma City University and Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. He previously served for six years on the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents.
Cole is a fifth generation Oklahoman and an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation. He is one of only five Native Americans currently serving in Congress. Since 2009, he has served as the Republican Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. The National Congress of American Indians has recognized Cole’s distinguished service with the Congressional Leadership award on three different occasions (2007, 2011 and 2017), more than any other Member of Congress in the history of the organization. He was inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2004.
Cole’s late mother, Helen, was also a member of the Chickasaw Hall of Fame and served as a state representative, state senator and the Mayor of Moore in her native state of Oklahoma. Cole’s late father, John, served 20 years in the United States Air Force and worked an additional two decades as a civilian federal employee at Tinker Air Force Base.
Tom and his wife, Ellen, have one son, Mason, and reside in Moore, Oklahoma.
Chair of the Day
Judy J. Hatfield, CPA, CCIM serves as President of Equity Realty, Inc.
Judy is also an owner and founding principal of Equity Commercial Realty II, LLC which is a full service commercial real estate company specializing in brokerage, leasing, management, development strategic consulting and investment throughout the state of Oklahoma headquartered in the OKC metro area, Norman, Ok.
Judy’s corporate experience includes Controller of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation plant in Norman, Oklahoma where she managed a budget of $40 million and 40 employees. She then became Vice President of Finance for TOTCO, a division of Baker International (later Baker Hughes) managing a staff of 120 people in four locations in Oklahoma, Texas and California. She started Hatfield and Bell, Inc., a marketing and public relations company, which she later sold to her partner. They employed 40 staff and handled all areas of marketing, public relations, media buys, and event planning. As Vice President of First National Bank of Norman, she handled the commercial real estate division of the bank, all SBA lending, and all the mortgage lending personnel with a staff of 20. As a CPA, she later started her own small business consulting company dealing with strategy, mergers, management and new business startups.
Judy’s real estate career began in 1986 when she handled her first receivership during the “Oil Bust” in Oklahoma. She grew her company, Equity Realty, Inc. to include 200 employees in three states. During that time she handled over 225 receiverships including every type of commercial real estate transaction from industrial, office, retail, land deals, convenience stores, mini storages, mobile home parks, and businesses which were incidental to the real estate. She is adept at organizing chaos and is very detailed in her approach to financial organization and implementing and reporting.
Judy’s first redevelopment project was Campus Corner in Norman, Oklahoma across the street from the University of Oklahoma Campus. She purchased a major ownership interest in this blighted retail area in 2000 when OU won the National Football Championship, secured a TIF district, gained cooperative advantage with other owners, developed a marketing campaign, and brought the area to a thriving retail area today with 100% occupancies and a waiting list of tenants and rental rates 5 times what they were 18 years ago.
In 2007, Judy contracted with the City of Oklahoma City to purchase the original Carnegie Library right in the center of downtown OKC and embarked on a renovation project expecting to renovate the building into condos and mixed use. Closing on the property January 2, 2008, Judy realized that it appeared the financial markets were nearing collapse and waited to start her then proposed project until the devastation of that event subsided. In 2010, she changed the trajectory of the project and decided to renovate the project to be listed on the National Historic Register. As she waded through all the paperwork to accomplish this, she took advantage of both State and Historic Tax Credits, New Market Tax Credits, TIF and a banker who believed in her vision to renovate the 66,000 SF five story building into 19 residential lofts, parking and storage units on the second floor, and the first floor including Beck Design, a major architectural firm with offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and New York; Udander an upscale spa; Nourished, a vegan food bar; Chartreuse Chandelier, a jewelry maker, all on the first floor and in the lower level, she landed the University of Central Oklahoma’s downtown campus which was expanded to include their MBA program. Although there were a lot of obstacles during the journey, Judy saw them as opportunities and upon completion of the project it was at 100% occupancy and received the coveted Neil Horton Award in 2015 for the Renaissance of Downtown Oklahoma City.
Judy continues to be involved in many strategic projects including the new Norman Regional Hospital’s west campus. She assisted Norman Regional in acquiring 96 acres of prime development property on I-35 through a number of transactions, helped hire the developer, developed a strategy for growth and has already sold land and assisted in the development of a CVS, McDonald’s, Sonic, 15,000 sf retail center, dental office, 40,000 sf heart doctor medical office building and a 7 acre high end nursing facility all within the new development which boasts a 129 bed state of the art hospital with plans to increase to three times the current hospital size.
Judy currently manages several retail and office properties in addition to her own portfolio. She is currently developing a family working ranch compound for the Hatfield family.